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Braves Minor League Recap: Michael Harris Crushed First Home Run

Michael Harris gave the Mississippi Braves a jolt with a three run home run, but the team could not pull out a win in a rough day on the farm.

Michael Harris, Atlanta Braves prospect, takes a swing in a game for the Rome Braves
Michael Harris, Atlanta Braves prospect, takes a swing in a game for the Rome Braves
Image Credit: Mills Fitzner

Starting pitching was a problem for the Atlanta Braves minor league affiliates on Sunday afternoon, as none of the four delivered good starts and the offenses were playing catch up throughout. One offense, that of the Augusta GreenJackets, was able to make that comeback thanks to a huge output from Caleb Durbin. In the biggest news of the day, Michael Harris crushed his first home run of the season in Mississippi.

(6-12) Gwinnett Stripers 4, (10-8) Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 5

Box Score

  • Ronald Acuna Jr., RF: 0-2, BB, SB, .357/.550/.429
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 2-5, 2B, RBI, .302/.302/.419
  • Pat Valaika, 2B: 3-4, 2B, 3 RBI, .279/.343/.459
  • Huascar Ynoa, SP: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 4.76 ERA
  • William Woods, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA

Ronald Acuna Jr.’s rehab stint featured a bit of a milestone as he played in his third consecutive game, but he did not contribute hugely on the offensive end. Acuna drew a walk, stole a base, and scored a run in the third inning but struck out in his other two plate appearances. The offense as a whole struggled in the early going, but down a couple of runs in the ninth inning they got a rally started. William Contreras led off the inning with an infield single, and after the next two players made outs Braden Shewmake roped a double to drive in a run and make it a 4-3 game. Pat Valaika followed Shewmake with a double of his own to score Shewmake and tie the game at four.

Huascar Ynoa got off to a rough start in his first outing back at Triple-A as he struggled to find the zone in the early innings. After allowing a run in the first inning he got in more hot water with a lead off walk in the second before allowing a base hit to put two runners on base. A double play had him in position to escape, but he allowed a two run home run that extended Jacksonville’s lead to 3-0. After this Ynoa was pretty well in control for most of the remainder of the start with the only hit coming on a bunt single. When he was brought out for the sixth inning he allowed a couple of late walks which ultimate ended his outing and made his line look a bit worse than it actually was. William Woods once again played a role out of the bullpen as he delivered another 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. He has now struck out seven of the eight batters he has faced at the Triple-A level. Dylan Lee could not escape a one out walk in the eighth inning as he ultimately allowed a two out single to extend Jacksonville’s lead to 4-2. After the Stripers tied the game they turned to RJ Alaniz and he quickly struck out the first two batters he faced. He then issued three consecutive walks to load the bases with two outs before allowing a base hit to walk the game off.

Next Game: 4/26 vs (11-7) Norfolk Tides @ 11:05 AM ET

(4-11) Mississippi Braves 5, (9-6) Chattanooga Lookouts 9

Box Score

  • Michael Harris II, CF: 2-5, HR, 3 RBI, .317/.379/.500
  • Jesse Franklin, RF: 0-4, BB, .236/.333/.400
  • Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 1-3, 2B, 2 BB, RBI, .245/.375/.528
  • Freddy Tarnok, SP: 2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 4.76 ERA
  • Hayden Deal, RP: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1.35 ERA

Mississippi’s ice cold start to the season continued as despite a huge third inning they could not hold on and lost in extra innings to the Lookouts. Michael Harris led off the game for the Braves with a base hit to the left side, and when Luke Waddell followed with a single on the next it looked like there might be a major chance to get early runs. Instead in a span of three pitched Jesse Franklin grounded out and Drew Lugbauer grounded into a double play to end a five pitch first inning. With the Braves trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the third inning the bottom of the order got a rally started and brought Harris back to the plate with two runners on. Harris turned on one and lifted a towering fly ball down the right field line with carried out of the ballpark for his first home run. Luke Waddell and Drew Lugbauer each doubled later in the inning to tie the game up, and an error on a dropped throw at first base brought in Lugbauer to give Mississippi a 5-4 lead. The two teams held tight there for awhile, and the Braves could never extend their lead as Chattanooga made a late inning comeback to win.

Freddy Tarnok had a poor showing on the mound as he could not find the feel of his curveball and consistently missed spots in and out of the zone. Tarnok was lucky to escape with only four runs allowed as eight batters reached base in two innings against him but he came alive both times with the bases loaded and was able to get out with fairly minimal damage. After two laborious innings Tarnok was pulled and he bullpen did phenomenal work early. Hayden Deal and Coleman Huntley have been on a roll to start the season and they continued that work with a combined five scoreless innings to protect that 5-4 lead. In the eighth the ball was turned over to Odalvi Javier, but he could not close out the game as a solo home run in the inning tied the game up. Javier was able to work around two more hits in the inning to keep the game tied and pitched a scoreless ninth to set up extra innings. Justin Maese took the ball in the tenth and it was not a pretty sight as he allowed four runs to give Chattanooga a commanding lead.

Next Game: 4/26 @ (7-7) Montgomery Biscuits @ 7:35 PM ET

(9-6) Rome Braves 3, (11-4) Bowling Green Hot Rods 11

Box Score

  • Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B: 2-4, .255/.379/.382
  • Cade Bunnell, 1B: 1-3, HR, BB, .178/.345/.289
  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 0-3, BB .255/.397/.291
  • Roddery Munoz, SP: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3.97 ERA
  • Justin Yeager, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0.00 ERA

Rome’s pitching staff ran into a force in this game and their bats could not keep up as they only scored three runs in the game. The Braves did have a lead at one point in the game, and it was the bottom of the order that got them there. Javier Valdes led off in the fourth inning with a four pitch walk and after a single from Beau Philip and walk to Rusber Estrada the Braves were in prime position with no outs. Christian Robinson then delivered a two run double to put them up 2-1 with a major scoring chance still on the table. Unfortunately two ground outs, the latter a double play, ended the scoring threat and Bowling Green was able to get a big inning to take over the game in the bottom of the frame. Cade Bunnell tacked on a solo home run in the fifth inning, but the Braves never got enough going offensively to be a threat to the Hot Rods after that fourth inning.

Roddery Munoz had a bit of a hot and cold outing, as he frequently got early outs but failed to finish out innings. After retiring the first five batters of the game he got into trouble in the second and allowed three consecutive two out hits to plate the game’s first run. He bounced back in the third inning with two quick outs before loading the bases on a hit and two walks, but he thankfully escaped on a ground out to keep the game close. The fourth inning was the big inning and after a ground out to start off the game quickly spiraled on Rome. Munoz allowed consecutive singles and left the game with the score tied 2-2. Jake McSteen immediately allowed a go ahead two run home run in relief and then allowed two more runs later in the inning to give the Hot Rods a 6-2 advantage. Dylan Spain continued his struggles and allowed a four run sixth inning that effectively sealed the game. Rolddy Munoz joined his brother’s troubles and allowed three walks in the eighth inning which led to a run against him. Only Justin Yeager was able to escape unharmed as the threw a perfect eighth inning to keep him 0.00 ERA on the season going.

Next Game: 4/26 vs (6-9) Greensboro Grasshoppers @ 6:00 PM ET

(7-8) Augusta GreenJackets 6, (5-10) Fayetteville Woodpeckers 5

Box Score

  • Caleb Durbin, SS: 3-5, 2 2B, SB, 3 RBI, .333/.473/.500
  • Brandol Mezquita, RF: 0-3, BB, RBI, .347/.452/.367
  • Kadon Morton, CF: 0-2, 2 BB, .071/.235/.143
  • Tyler Owens, SP: 1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 7.88 ERA
  • Samuel Strickland, RP: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA

It was a rough day, but thankfully we have Augusta who saved us from an organizational sweep with a late rally to take a win. The GreenJackets took their first at bats already trailing the game by three runs, but in the third inning turned things around in a hurry. Brian Klein delivered a leadoff single out of the ninth spot in the order, and the top of the lineup kept things going with a double by Caleb Durbin. Durbin then came around to score on a couple of wild pitches which cut the deficit to a run. Two innings later it was Durbin taking control again, this time notching a one out double to give the Jackets a shot to the the game. After another wild pitch pushed Durbin to third a throwing error tied the game and put Geraldo Quintero on third base. Brandol Mezquita didn’t have any hits in the game, but he put one in play in this spot to score Quintero and give Augusta their first lead. That lasted a half inning before the Woodpeckers evened the score. Still holding at 4-4 in the eighth inning Augusta drew three consecutive walks to lead off the inning, but it did not seem they would actually get anything of it. Klein struck out and Cal Conley grounded into a force out at home to give away two quick outs, but Caleb Durbin stayed scorching hot to deliver the big blow. Durbin was able to get a base hit through the infield and score two runs as Augusta went on to win on that hit.

Tyler Owens was not missing bats in his start, and his outing lasted only one inning as three runs came across to score and he threw 37 pitches. Needing a long outing from the bullpen Augusta turned to Samuel Strickland and he gave them the length they needed to get back into the game. Strickland went through the next four innings without even the hint of a run scoring, though he finally ran into trouble in the sixth after an error put a runner on second base with one out. Strickland allowed a game-tying base hit and walk before being pulled after 4 13 strong innings of relief work. Miguel Pena kept his streak going and finished out the sixth and seventh innings without allowing any runs. Rob Griswold took the ball in the eight inning and went the remainder of the game. He ran into trouble when he allowed the first two batters of the ninth inning to reach. A double play then allowed a run to score, but also took the tying run off of the bases as Griswold was able to lock down a win.

Next Game: 4/26 vs (5-10) Delmarva Shorebirds @ 11:05 AM ET